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Messages - nateo

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1756
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Batch 500
« on: March 13, 2012, 07:00:47 AM »
have you malted your own grain yet? what about growing it? there is no last big step. it just keeps going. up and I don't know where it's going to stop!!!!

[Public Service Announcement]

As a chronic sufferer of of YDIW, I struggle with my disease every day. YDIW is a social-skills disorder that Internet forum members are at heightened risk of developing. Others at heightened risk include religious fundamentalists, sports fans, and advice columnists. The only known treatment for YDIW is "No one cares what you think!" It should be applied liberally whenever YDIW flares up.

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1757
Going Pro / Re: Looking into starting a meadery
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:17:39 PM »
I contacted the Missouri Wine Advisory Board. They weren't helpful. I got ahold of someone at the main office for the state Alcohol Control division, and he was really helpful. That guy said that it's the position of his agency that statutes take precedent over regulations, and that if state law says I can use honey in my winery, then it doesn't matter if the regulations don't specifically state that I can.

He also told me that my county health inspector is the one who will actually be inspecting the facility, and as long as they're happy with the facility, the state is happy. It seems like the state doesn't particularly care about regulating. Yay, Missouri!

1758
Equipment and Software / Re: Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 12, 2012, 11:09:04 AM »
I brew 3 gallon batches also, perhaps I should look into these here buckets.  I'd probably have to drill out the lid though for an airlock...hmmmmm.

My LHBS in Colorado had lids that were predrilled and grommeted. The LHBS here just drills a hole in the lid for you, and they have little rubber stoppers for it. Not quite as elegant as the grommet, but it works fine and is easy to clean.

1759
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Crazy pH drop during fermentation
« on: March 12, 2012, 09:52:47 AM »
I'm evaluating 71B's performance with hard v soft water, and also evaluating K1V, RC212, and Red Star Cote Des Blanc, and Premier Cuvee (with soft water). I plan on doing some more trials later with R2 and BM45, but my LHBS didn't have them in stock.

So far, it seems the pH drop is at least partially yeast dependent. I don't have a way to quantify how I'm degassing. I just swirl it around for about 30seconds. So the varying pH readings I'm getting from the different yeasts might just be operator error.

Also, the one jug with hard water had the closest thing to Krausen of the 6. I'm not sure how the water affected that. Maybe more nucleation sites or something?

I'm only on day 5 so far, but fermentation should be winding down soon. Most of the musts were around 1.010 as of yesterday.

1760
Going Pro / Re: Financials and Investors
« on: March 12, 2012, 05:32:07 AM »
I remember reading about when New Belgium started up. The original guy was convinced that his Abbey ale was going to be huge. He took it to all kinds of festivals and events, and couldn't give the stuff away. Then Fat Tire happened, and we all know the rest of the story.

So it's good to have plans. It's better to have backup plans as well.

In addition to making good beer, you need to make beer people like. I'm frequently surprised by which (IMO mediocre) beers I make that get a lot of positive response, and which beers, that I think are great, don't.

1761
Equipment and Software / Re: Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 11, 2012, 08:06:15 AM »
liberal republican

I thought those were extinct. Maybe you're just endangered.

1762
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Crazy pH drop during fermentation
« on: March 11, 2012, 07:28:06 AM »
Water high in bicarbonates helps this, according to Steve Piatz.  Some add KCO3 to keep the pH in the range the yeast like.  A mix-stir is used when the nutrients go in, to aerate and to knock out the CO2.  Getting the CO2 out will also help the pH stay up.

I think it would take a lot of CO3 to get the pH into the proper range. It took a lot of Ca(OH)2, and that's a much stronger base than KCO3.

I wasn't surprised that the pH dropped, but I was amazed at how far it dropped, and how quickly it dropped. I think a lot of the stuck ferments homebrewers run into when making mead, wine, cider (and maybe beer?) could be due to low fermentation pH shocking the yeast.

I was thinking about how a lot of people add yeast to stuck ferments, and it made me think of locking a puppy in a hot car. The puppy died, and instead of rolling down the windows, you just shove more puppies in there, and hope one of them doesn't die.

1763
Yeast and Fermentation / Crazy pH drop during fermentation
« on: March 10, 2012, 05:36:57 PM »
I'm doing six 3L fermentation trials for mead right now, comparing different strains, trying my hand at Curt Stock's Even-speed-mead method, and also the effect of very hard water on mead. I'll do a more detailed write-up later, but the initial results were shocking.

OG: 1.050
500g honey
2g yeast (properly rehydrated)

A1 - 71B with hard water (400ppm CaCO3)
A2 - 71B with lime-softened water (50ppm CaCO3)

Day 0
Added 0.65g Fermaid K to both
Added 0.30g DAP

A1 pH - 5.9
A2 pH - 5.8

Day 1
Roused

Day 2 - SG: 1.030
Roused
Added 0.65g Fermaid
Added 0.30g DAP

A1 pH - 2.3. Added 1tbsp+1/2tsp of 5% calcium hydroxide solution, which raised the pH to 3.7
A2 pH - 1.8. Added 3tbsp of 5% lime solution, which raised the pH to 3.8

I degassed the samples by shaking them repeatedly in a mason jar, and also by letting them sit out for a few hours. I calibrated my pH meter was calibrated twice, to 7 and 4, because I didn't believe my results.

I really didn't expect the pH to fall that much that quickly. I'm not surprised at all that most mead fermentations take months to finish, since the must becomes so hostile to yeast so quickly.



1764
Equipment and Software / Re: Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 10, 2012, 12:14:17 PM »
5 gallon buckets are good for brewing 3 gallon batches.  You brew many 3 gallon batches?

I do, actually. I like making 3 gallon batches when I don't have time to brew outside, and I have to use my regular stove-top.

Also, depending on what yeast I use, I can get away with 15% headspace volume for most British and Belgian yeasts. For true top-croppers I need more like 25-30% headspace. Or you could use a blow-off tube. I also make a fair amount of 8-9 gallons batches that end up with a lot of headspace divided into two 6.5gallon buckets. So for me, 5 gallon buckets are great. YMMV and so forth.

1765
Equipment and Software / Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 10, 2012, 11:39:42 AM »
Stopped in to Lowes the other day while waiting for my Bobcat tire to get fixed. Noticed rows and rows of white, food-grade 5 gallon buckets for sale. They also had 2 gallon buckets that looked pretty good too. The 5gal were $3.78 IIRC, and the lids were another $1.25 or so.

I love my LHBS dearly and try to support them as much as I can, but their buckets are like $15 each, and they're an hour-and-a-half drive away.

1766
Ingredients / Re: water for Dortmunder
« on: March 10, 2012, 11:23:17 AM »
I've seen some radically different water profiles given for "historic" cities. Those profiles change over time, too. Just because one well in Dublin two hundred years ago had high bicarbonates so it worked for their stout, that doesn't mean you should try to emulate any arbitrary water profile someone listed for a city.

In my experience, trying to emulate water profiles is a good way to break something that wasn't broken. The worst non-infected beer I've ever made was a pale ale with water trying to emulate Burton.

1767
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Addition of Raspberries to a lambic.
« on: March 10, 2012, 07:58:04 AM »
I don't have a definitive answer for you, but maybe a couple of things to think about. The acid in the fruit will lower the acid in your wort. How much will depend on how much fruit you add. But yeast gets grumpy if the pH drops below 4, and really grumpy under 3.

Depending on how much the Roselare blend has dropped the pH, you might need to rely on the Brett and bugs to ferment any sugars the raspberries add. I don't have any idea how long that would take.

If it were me, I would wait until the lambic is finished, then ferment the raspberries separately, maybe with a little fresh wort for nutrition, then blend the two to taste. I think you would get a fresher raspberry taste. It's also possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.

1768
I don't think they use oak. I heard they use a different wood, but I might be misremembering. I also remember hearing it has a slightly acetic character. That would be hard to get in pleasantly small doses, so maybe add vinegar to taste after it's done?

I've used some wild yeasts before, harvested from different fruits, and none of them have acted or tasted like Brett, fwiw. The closest commercial yeast in flavor to my peach-harvested wild yeast was WY2565, only the wild yeast flocced a lot better. The wild also had more undesirable fermentation byproducts (mostly higher alcohols) than the commercial one.

When people say "wild yeast" they think of crazy flavors. I'm sure there are some wild yeasts out there that do have crazy flavors, but I haven't been able to harvest any of them.

1769
Ingredients / Re: water for Dortmunder
« on: March 10, 2012, 07:44:38 AM »
It's common for German brewers to use decarbonation by boiling. So whatever amount of chalk they started with in their water, they probably precipitated a lot out before they used it to brew. So I wouldn't add any alkalinity to your water unless it's necessary for your mash pH. I'd just focus on getting the flavor ions where you want them.

1770
Going Pro / Re: How hard is it to be a pro brewer?
« on: March 10, 2012, 07:34:59 AM »
It seems to me the biggest factor in success of a brewpub is location, both having a high-traffic location in the town, and being in a town that cares about good food.

Good beer and good food are only appreciated in certain geographical pockets. Growing up in Colorado, I took good food and good beer for granted. Even the smallish/hickish town I grew up in (Fruita CO, FWIW) had a couple of Thai restaurants within driving distance. Being raised in a culture with an above-average appreciation for food and drink really skewed my perception of how much "average" people care about the quality of what they consume.

Living in Missouri, the situation is completely different. The closest town to me has a population of 14k, and probably 20 fast food restaurants. There are a few locally-owned restaurants I've found to be passable, one that's good but never has any customers, and all the rest are aggressively bad, yet very busy. The beer situation is similar. With a few exceptions, mostly in St. Louis and KC, you can't get good beer in restaurants here. There are a few small outfits trying to change things, but they've only started in the last couple of years, and who knows if they'll be successful or not.

Even if you make the best beer and best food, if your customers don't want that, you won't stay in business long.

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